It is widely known that men and women grieve differently and being in a relationship with someone who has lost a loved one can be particularly challenging, be it from a male or female perspective. Whether you are both grieving together or in a new relationship with someone who is grieving ’alone’ this information may help you to traverse the journey together.
If You Are A Partner
You may want to take away her hurt and make her feel better, most often by distraction or trying to lighten her mood. In an attempt to remove her pain, you may however be denying her the ability to express her feelings and emotions in a safe way. Remember, you don’t have to solve anything. It can also be uncomfortable to see your partner suffering, and your natural response may be to try and deflect this in some way. This action may serve also, to protect yourself from your own vulnerabilities in relation to the expression of such a strong emotion. She is processing grief in her own way, as a mother.
If You Are A Mother
You may want your partner to talk about their feelings and wonder why they don’t seem to care or cry for your baby. You might be angry that they spend hours doing chores or working on hobbies, keeping as busy as possible. Men generally process and respond to their grief very privately and actively, they like to keep busy. Partners do not want you to suffer, they want to take away your pain. You may not see the occasions where they do cry just like you do, they feel the pain just as much, but express it in different ways – they still hurt. You may notice that they are easily angered and frustrated. It may be an uncomfortable experience to witness, when you are vulnerable and hurting. Remember, your partner is processing grief in their own way.
Whichever way you deal with grief, try to nurture and support each other during such an extremely difficult time:
♥ Be near – in physical and emotional closeness, sexual or otherwise.
♥ Refrain from offering solutions or becoming judgmental.
♥ Listen without interrupting.
♥ A silent comforting hug heals much.
♥ Remember significant difficult days – birthdays, anniversaries.
♥ Understand that grief never ends, the individual person simply adapts over time.
♥ Invest in your relationship – take the time for whats important.
♥ Value talking.
♥ Love generously.
This article was first published by Esdeer. Maureen’s free inspirational guide “Opening the Door to Hope: Helping you Step through Grief” is available here: www.esdeer.com/hope.
- Our culture discourages men from openly emoting. At the same time men have been judged for not emoting and therefore may find themselves in a double bind.
- A man has physical differences which can impact his way of healing.
- A man’s way of healing may be less visible and more subtle.
- A man’s grief is often connected more with the future than with the past.
- Just because a man is more silent does not mean he isn’t grieving.
- Every man is unique in the way he approaches his own healing.
- A man’s healing can be influenced by his tendency toward independence.
- Men may prefer time alone in order to heal.
- Men may respond to their loss more cognitively.
- A man is likely to find ways to connect with the pain he feels with an action he can take.
We have heard stories of men building garden’s and assembling display cases, these subtle action are a man’s way of processing grief.